Whichever industry you are in, businesses face stiff competition from around the globe. With many offering similar products and services at similar prices, one of the best ways to set your company apart from the competition is to offer excellent customer service. These six tips will help you improve your customer service:
1. Utilize automation responsibly
Customers frequently complain about how difficult it is to speak to a “real person” in an age of automated customer service. However, when used correctly, automation can reduce customer wait times and provide customers with always-on options that allow them to get the help they need on their schedule. One example of how automation can improve customer service response is self customer service. Chatbots, FAQs, and searchable knowledge bases allow customers to get answers to frequently asked questions without having to wait in line for a customer service representative.
2. Make empathy your focus
The ability to experience a situation from the customer’s point of view is a critical skill for successful customer service representatives. You can foster improved empathy in your employees by encouraging them to spend time with people who are different and incorporating empathy training into your training program. Diversity in your own workforce can go a long way towards improving your employee’s empathy skills.
3. Be patient
Customer service involves dealing with people who may be angry, impatient or upset. It is important to be able to deal with these types of customers without reacting negatively. Customer service representatives who can practice patience with difficult customers will be more successful. You can improve patience by observing which triggers cause impatience and learning how to deal with them. When customer service employees can remain calm while customers are lashing out, their calmness can be infectious, leading to the customer also calming down. The opposite is also true. If your representative becomes angry, the customer is likely to respond in kind.
4. Learn to communicate more clearly
Having to repeat information is a frustrating experience for both employees and customers. Improving communication skills can reduce the number of times employees need to repeat information because customers did not understand what was being communicated the first time. To improve understanding, your employees should be well versed in the technical terms that apply to your products and services and be able to explain them in plain language to customers. Representatives should avoid assuming that customers already understand something. The most important information should be communicated first so that if the customer checks out of the conversation, they aren’t as likely to have missed key points. When providing technical support, you should make sure all steps are included in the order they should be performed.
5. Ask questions
Learning to ask more questions is useful in two ways. First, it makes the customer feel like you are interested in what they have to say. Second, it helps you get to the root of the problem. Customers don’t always understand exactly why they are angry or upset and asking the right questions can reveal useful information. However, your staff should take care to ask questions thoughtfully and in a way that does not seem like they are trying to prove a customer wrong. Instead of trying to jump straight to solutions, your employees should focus on uncovering what caused the problem. Empower your employees to go off-script when they need to.
6. Listen actively
Customer service representatives often deal with the same problems over and over. It can be easy to assume you already know the answer and try to cut the customer off. This can make customers angry and lead to misunderstandings. Employees should be careful to actively listen to what customers are telling them, rather than assuming they know what they are going to say.
Providing excellent customer service is one of the best ways to encourage repeat business and gain customer referrals. These six tips can help your team turn problems into opportunities.